Make your plans now to attend the November general meeting. The last time club member Chuck Vaughn demonstrated his skills in astrophotography, we had a standing room-only crowd.
Chuck plans a demonstration of image processing on astrophotos, using Adobe Photoshop. Many of the capabilities of Photoshop parallel work that can be done in the traditional darkroom, but are much easier to achieve. Additionally, Photoshop offers many functions that cannot be performed in the darkroom.
The demonstration will begin when Chuck scans negatives into Photoshop. He will use a Polaroid slide scanner and show how to optimize a scan to create the best image for Photoshop to process. He will bring both black and white and color negatives.
Digital darkroom tricks that Chuck will show us from Photoshop include: contrast stretching, color balancing, and color negative stacking - a technique few could accomplish without access to a professional darkroom.
Further update. I borrowed a car and drove about 30 kilometres north of Perth where I was able to see both the SMC and LMC. The Milky Way was just visible and I could see the two galaxies with averted vision. The skys weren't Sky Shack quality; closer to what we get at our star parties at the park in Livermore. I had clouds on the horizon over Perth which added some light.
The SMC and LMC look like fuzzy parts of the Milky Way that broke off and drifted away from the main stream. In my 12X50's the LMC showed some elongation, almost rectangular, and I could resolve no stars at 12X. The SMC was even less interesting. The Milky Way I could see was the part that goes from Sagittarius through Centarus on south, which South of Centarus did not appear too interesting.
Centarus is a nice constellation and would be one of our major constellations if it had been higher in the Northern Sky. Musca (the fly I think) is not a bad little group of stars despite its name. I could not see the Eta Carina region or Hale-Bopp (yes it's still here at mag 6) due to clouds off to the SE. All in all, it would not take much to see everything down here that you can't see there with a medium (8") scope in a few clear all night sessions. The sky is largely empty of bright constellations to the South so I guess you might have a large collection of faint fuzzies accessiblein a large (16" or more scope).
I stopped into a telescope store in downtown Perth with some serious scopes (14" Celestron SC for example). Looks like they would organize an observing expedition for a price with scopes. So if anyone gets sent down here on businesss, that could be an option if you had a few days. Just make sure it's their summer. They say it rains every night in their winter.
The bookstores in Perth are incredible. There are about 20 within three blocks of my hotel and about half are quality used book stores and many are "technical" book stores. Something to do on those rainy nights in winter.
Subscriptions to Sky & Telescope and Astronomy are again available at discounted club subscription rates. S&T has jumped its rate slightly, to $27 per year; Astronomy remains at $24 annually. Magazine subscriptions (or renewals) are mailed the day after the February general meeting, so they are slightly offset from the January to December TVS membership year.
Renewals and subscriptions may be mailed to our post office box (see below), or you may bring a completed form and check to any general meeting between now and February.
When planning your calendar for next year, please reserve the following dates for general meetings.
Other helpful observing tools will include books like Touring the Universe Through Binoculars and Robert Garfinkle's Starhopping.
Some of the club's library materials are a bit tardy and downright overdue. If you hold one of these late books, periodicals, cassettes, or video tapes, return it at the November general meeting or call Chris at (707) 747-6550 and tell him when to expect it.
If you are interested in taking the lead on school star parties, contact Rich Green at (510) 449-2190 or call club president Dave Anderson at (510) 661-4249.
About 280 catalogue entries remain to be made. The Board has estimated the job at approximately 10 hours of typing, and is offering a rate of $7.50 per hour. The applicant must have access to a Windows-based PC (any version of Windows).
If you wish to apply, or recommend someone for this task, contact Chris Cody.
This month, treasurer Gene Nassar will close the money market fund and use its proceeds to open a third CD. Our current financial standing is as follows.
Checking account $3,650.23
CD #1 $3,212.00
CD #2 $2,500.00
Money market $1,216.00
(plus interest from September 1 to the date of closing)
Once the money market account is closed and the final CD is opened, we will publish a precise statement.
Members who join in October, November, or December receive a 1998 membership and the balance of 1997 for the regular membership price. If you know of someone who has delayed joining to avoid paying "double dues", please share this good news with him or her.
A well-designed amphitheater is suitable for public presentations on astronomy. Space has been allocated so that groups can set up clusters of telescopes together. Electrical outlets are conveniently situated nearby. Red lights now illuminate the stone steps leading down to the lowest level. Concession buildings and rest rooms are completely upgraded, as are the new plantings, new trails, and much more accessible parking.
1 Mon Mercury 7° south of Moon.
Io transits Jupiter 6:39 to 8:56 PM; shadow transits 7:50 PM PST. 2 Tue Mars 5° south of Moon.
3 Wed Venus 7° south of Moon. (Neptune and Uranus nearby).
4 Thu Jupiter 3° south of Moon.
Io reappears from eclipse by Jupiter 7:16 PM Space Shutt le Endeavor (STS-88) launch scheduled. (First International Space Station assembly mission.) 5 Fri Ganymede reappears from occultation by Jupiter 7:45 PM, eclipsed 8:54 PM
6 Sat First Quarter Moon 10:09 PM
Europa occulted by Jupiter 6:42 PM
C/1997 J2 (Meunier-Dupouy) Date (00UT) R.A.
(2000) Dec El Sky Mag
11-03 16h42.0m +54° 25' 75° E 10.8
11-08 16h57.2m +53° 17' 75° E 10.8
11-13 17h12.3m +52° 08' 75° E 10.8
11-18 17h27.0m +50° 57' 74° E 10.7
11-23 17h41.5m +49° 45' 74° E 10.7
11-28 17h55.6m +48° 33' 73° E 10.7
12-03 18h09.4m +47° 21' 73° E 10.7
103P/ Hartley 2 Date (00UT) R.A.
(2000) Dec El Sky Mag
11-03 19h42.5m -08° 04' 76° E 10.4
11-08 19h55.5m -08° 29' 74° E 10.1
11-13 20h09.7m -08° 51' 72° E 9.8
11-18 20h25.0m -09° 08' 71° E 9.5
11-23 20h41.5m -09° 20' 70° E 9.3
11-28 20h59.2m -09° 27' 69° E 9.1
12-03 21h18.1m -09° 29' 68° E 8.9
C/1997 T1 (Utsunomiya) Date (00UT) R.A.
(2000) Dec El Sky Mag
11-03 19h01.2m +34° 24' 81° E 9.9
11-08 18h55.5m +29° 19' 74° E 10.0
11-13 18h51.7m +25° 00' 68° E 10.1
11-18 18h49.2m +21° 19' 63° E 10.2
11-23 18h47.7m +18° 09' 57° E 10.3
11-28 18h46.7m +15° 26' 52° E 10.3
12-03 18h46.3m +13° 05' 47° E 10.4
A new comet has been visually discovered. It can be seen in most telescopes for the next few months. Meanwhile, Comet Hale-Bopp dims as it moves south in the morning sky. Comet Meunier-Dupouy, up to a magnitude fainter than suggested in the ephemeris below, remains in our northern evening sky. Periodic Comet Hartley 2 has returned on its 6.4-year orbit. Finally, our monthly report on daylight comet discoveries shows five more short-lived faint comets being found on images obtained by the SOHO satellite, bringing its total to 30. The newly-discovered comet is C/1997 T1 (Utsunomiya). It was found on Oct. 4 by Syogo Utsunomiya of Japan who was using 6" binoculars at 25 power. The comet was quite far north (+72 degrees declination) and showed a short tail. An early orbit indicates that the comet reaches perihelion in early December when it will be outside our orbit and a bit behind us.
A second and much fainter comet was discovered on Oct. 5 by a team of professional observers using a CCD attached to a telescope at the European Southern Observatory. Found at magnitude 19, it appeared as an asteroid: a single slow-moving point of light. Closer examination has showed a tiny tail. It is possibly a short-period comet staying at least three astronomical units from the sun. It is known as P/1997 T3 and will remain faint.
COMET HUNTING NOTES:
Since the first day of 1975, 76 comets have been visually discovered. Some have been discovered by more than one person: ten by two visual discoverers and seven by three. This amounts to 100 visual discovery events. Thirty-two of those 76 comets were found in the evening sky with 44 found in the morning sky. Additionally, 42 were found in the north of the celestial equat or with 34 found south. All of the 23 comets found by observers living south of the equat or were found in the southern celestial sky. Northern Hemisphere observers found comets both north and south of the equator.
In the past couple of years, the market has seen the demise of the standard film for color astro photography, Fuji HG400. Fortunately, to the rescue come two exciting new color films, Kodak PPF and Kodak Ektapress Multispeed PJM. These new films have excellent reciprocity characteristics and very fine grain, and they have been the subject of recent reviews in Sky & Telescope (March 1997) and Astronomy (October 1996, May 1997).
All photos in this article were taken at the Sky Shack using my Meade LX200 10" f/10, equipped with a Lumicon Giant Easyguider that yields an effective focal ratio of approximately f/6.3. This reduced focal ratio has the advantage of requiring much reduced exposure times, as the exposure duration is proportional to the square of the focal ratio. Additionally, one is able to photograph a larger field of view due to the reduced image scale. All photos have been manually guided.
To perform the intercomparison of various films, I have photographed M17, the Swan Nebula, for 30 minutes (with one exception) using a Lumicon Deep-Sky filter. I've chosen M17 due to the range of nebulosity this object displays. The best available prints were scanned in black and white mode, and then reversed to highlight the faint nebulosity. Unfortunately, I do not have access to a negative scanner or advanced image processings oftware which might allow for a more exacting intercomparison. However, the results discussed below are consistent with the degree of nebulosity recorded on the negatives.
The hypered film for Figures 1 and 6 was purchased from Lumicon. I hypered the film for Figures 3-5 at home using a Lumicon 300 hyper-kit. The PJM and PPF for Figures 3-4 were hypered together, each in its respective 35mm cartridges, for 12 hours at 50 degrees C, at a pressure of +3 psi. For Figure 5, the PPF was prepared in the same manner, but the hypering duration was only five hours. The images in Figures 3-5 were taken on the same night, and were processed and printed at the same lab at the same time, thus yielding a control led experiment that isolates the different characteristics of PPF and PJM, as well as the effect of different hypering times for PPF.
The remaining photos were taken with either Kodak PJM or PPF under a variety of hypersensitizing scenerios, all using the same exposure time.
Both PPF and PJM are exciting new color films for astrophotography. My personal experience, in this limited sensitivity experiment of photographing emission nebula, suggests that PPF has a better red response than PJM. Whether, you purchase hypered film commercially, or you bake it yourself, these films will result in striking astrophotos, provided of course that you have good polar alignment and guiding technique. I have yet to compare the blue response of these films in a systematic fashion (the Pleiades are on the rise), and I encourage others to perform similar intercomparisons. The result will be rewarding not only to you, but to other astrophotographers, particularly those who are just starting out.
The entire contents of amateur astronomer Quentin Fritzsche's home observatory are for sale. These include telescopes, filters, tripods, eyepieces, adaptors, books, VCRs, monitors, televisions, disk players, assorted video equipment, and electronic components. A comprehensive list of the items is available from Leonard Higgins of Napa. Leonard, himself an amateur astronomer, is assisting Gloria Fritzsche in the disposition of her late husband's stargazing equipment. You may reach Leonard in the evening at (707) 252-9110, or by e-mail, mountain@comm unity.net. He will send a copy of the inventory and prices.
The SOLAR Center is sponsored by the NASA-funded Solar Physics group at Stanford. It was produced by a team led by club member Deborah Scherrer. Images and data are provided by the SOHO spacecraft and, more particularly, by the MDI instrument from the Solar Oscillations Investigation team. Phil Scherrer, also a club member, is the SOI/MDI principal investigator.
The site offers a multi-disciplinary interactive approach to exploring the Sun. Activities range from simple visual quizzes to weeks-long observations and analyses. Although the site was designed with specific activities for students at grade levels 4 through 12, adults also find much that is intriguing at the site. Directions for making a pinhole camera or using an H-alpha filter are given in detail. A pointer to Mike Rushford's solar Eyes on the Skies solar telescope has been posted.
To capture the interest of kids in various ways, Deborah's team has inserted the following elements: solar art (particularly that developed as calibration or data visualization imagery) ; folklore about and multicultural interpretations of the Sun; solar literature (What do you think Hamlet has to do with astronomy?); solar rock art; ancient solar astronomy sites and models; and a "sun-on-earth" section discussing rainbows, sun pillars, the green flash, sun fish, and sunflowers.
You are invited to explore this site, and send your comments or suggestions. The pages will be enhanced continuously.
Dave Anderson (510) 661-4249
Secretary Bill Burnap (510) 449-4552
Vice President Chuck Grant (510) 449-1500
Treasurer Gene Nassar (510) 462-7843
Observatory Director Chuck Grant (510) 449-1500
Librarian Chris Cody (707) 747-6550
Eyes on the Skies Mike Rushford http://www.hooked.net/~tvs/eyes/
Web Site http://www.hooked.net/~tvs/
Editor Alane Alchorn (510) 455-9464 (510) 455-9466 fax firstname.lastname@example.org
Meeting Location Unitarian Universalist Church in Livermore 1893 N. Vasco Rd. 3/4 mile north of I-580
Board Alane Alchorn Dennis Beckley Rich Combs Rich Green Russ Kirk Dave Rodrigues Debbie Scherrer Al Smith Dave Sworin Jim Zumstein
Tri-Valley Stargazers Membership/Renewal Application